How and why to rely on email marketing

By January 9, 2023 Digital Stories

Email marketing is a seemingly simple activity, but it turns out to be much more complex than expected. Today there are many who think that such an approach is outdated and obsolete.

In fact, it is just the opposite, and those who speak negatively about it are because they have not been able to derive concrete benefits from it.

In fact, doing email marketing is not trivially reduced to sending a newsletter on a regular basis or send discounts to customers through mailing list. Behind this is much deeper and more careful work, and the potential offered by such a communicative method is immense.

Therefore, one should not believe those who believe that email marketing is dead since with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic it seems that the number of e-mail messages is expected to grow in the years to come.

But how exactly does email marketing work, what are its specific goals, and how do you set up such a campaign? Let's find out together.

What is email marketing

Email marketing is nothing more than a form of direct marketing which is based on email communication strategies.

In simpler words, it involves directly targeting consumers with promotional messages sent through electronic mail, with the aim of targeting sales, increasing loyalty and giving useful information.

Regardless of the opinion of many, email marketing today is mainly based on Consensus, personalization and segmentation.

It can be considered almost the electronic version of common catalogs, flyers and advertising brochures. Whenever a company sends an email to a customer, with the exception of order confirmations, this can be considered an email marketing activity and one of the first steps in the strategies of inbound marketing.

Of course, the effectiveness of such an approach is closely linked to different factors, starting with the content of the email, which should always be original and valuable.

The different types of email marketing

To begin with, it is important to go and learn what are the various types of communications that a company can target its consumers through email marketing efforts. These include. DEMs, newsletters and automated emails..

The DEM (Direct Email Marketing) is a message sent via e-mail to a predefined mailing list. Typically, DEMs are used to convey commercial information, such as promotions, discount codes, timed offers, new product launches, and so on.

Instead, the newsletter goes to aggregate company-related news, pointing out new features and important updates. Newsletters are a very easy way to engage users with respect to one's services and remain imprinted.

Such campaigns may involve 3 to 10 emails sent over several days or weeks. However, when such messages are sent automatically, we then speak of automated emails, useful for saving time and taking care of customer relations.

The goal of Automation is to push people toward an action that can be a quote, a purchase, or a direct contact.

Automated emails follow more complex logic and must be set up in a manner designed to Triggering the right reactions. They also often include so-called transactional emails, namely those that include order confirmations, shipping information, and reminders.

Transactional emails are crucial for cultivating customer relationships, especially for e-commerce. Therefore, they are often sent from a different IP than the one used for promotional emails and newsletters.

To understand the volume generated by email marketing, theMailUp Statistical Observatory 2022 analyzed a whopping 15 billion emails, including newsletters and commercial communications sent in 2021. Specifically, one billion more emails were recorded, with An increase of 8.7% over 2020.

In addition, delivery rates for 2021 were also checked, which peaked at 99%.

How to get email addresses

Before engaging in email marketing, it is essential to have a mailing list to which promotional messages can be sent. But how can the mailing list be built?

Today there are companies that provide third-party databases and specific mailing lists for each industry, of course for a fee. It is certainly a faster and more ready-to-use method, but it is always preferable to develop your own database over time, propping it up with real customers and direct contacts.

These are usually contacts that come from the websites, such as emails for registering for restricted areas, e-commerce purchases, newsletter subscriptions, and subscribing to subscriptions.

The important thing is that everything is handled transparently from the point of view of informed consent. Therefore, it is good to rely on the double opt-in, that is, the registration confirmation sent to the newly registered customer, who must then verify the registration by clicking on the unique link received.

This is certainly the most common practice for email marketing in Europe, while internationally it is not a mandatory system or included in the GDPR.

 The goals of email marketing

Email marketing can become a valuable ally in achieving some of the major business goals:

  • Customer loyalty
  • Brand awareness
  • Conversion

Thanks to email marketing, it will be possible to retain the majority of consumers and it will be easier to convert those who are undecided or not yet loyal to the brand.

E-mail is an excellent means of communication in that it allows you to have with the person a certain degree of intimacy. In short, for some it is a shared space in which to receive messages from favorite brands.

By addressing personalized emails directly to customers, we have the unique opportunity to be constantly present in their daily lives. Unlike social media, we will have the assurance that the person actually received the message.

In addition, e-mail has a kind of officiality and formality for communications of a more important nature and plays a key role in every stage of the purchasing cycle.

What KPIs to analyze in email marketing?

When delving into email marketing, it is advisable to pay attention to some KPIs, the performance indicators to be tracked after sending a new communication email. The most relevant metrics to monitor are as follows:

  • OR (Open Rate): this is the overall open rate, that is, the percentage of emails opened by users compared to those delivered. It is useful because it allows you to understand whether people are interested in what you want to communicate, but you have to be careful because it also contains multiple opens by the same user;
  • UOR (Unique Open Rate): is a parameter similar to the previous one, but referring to the unique user;
  • CTR (Click-Through-Rate): this is a data point to be collected continuously and represents the number of clicks on the call-to-actions in the email;
  • CTOR (Click-Through Open Rate): is the ratio of unique clicks to unique opens and is indicative of responsiveness to the message received;
  • UR (Unscribe Rate): is the unsubscribe rate of people who unsubscribed from the mailing list after the email marketing campaign;
  • CR (Conversion Rate): is the percentage of unique users who performed a specific action defined by the sender of the communication. By cross-referencing web analytics and email marketing platform data, one can set specific goals and understand whether the customer has completed the desired action;
  • Spam Score: this metric indicates whether the email was put into spam and from which device, so as to better understand whether users read messages from tablets, smartphones, or computers. Emails that end up in spam are often a sign of low message quality or that the IP is viewed negatively by the systems.

The best software for email marketing

To carry out common email marketing activities, it is essential to rely on specific software and platforms that make it easier to carry on this type of communication. Such programs may be more or less complex to use, depending on individual needs.

Very often these are software integrated with CRM, so you can have a 360-degree management of contacts and customers in a single program. So here are the most useful tools for those who want to do email marketing professionally:

  • Mailchimp: is one of the most well-known and popular platforms, especially by small businesses and startups because of its ease of use and the opportunity to use various functions in a free version;
  • ActiveCampaign: is cloud-based software for small and medium-sized businesses that manages to integrate email marketing, CRM and Automation options;
  • Drip: is an automation tool designed primarily for e-commerce sites and allows messages to be integrated for different touch points beyond email, including SMS;
  • Hubspot: is one of the cornerstones of inbound marketing and is a versatile software that combines marketing, sales and service, as well as Automation and email marketing;
  • Infomail: is one of the simplest and easiest to manage email marketing programs. Not surprisingly, it is designed for nonprofits and startups;

How to define a proper email marketing campaign

Email marketing may not be in its golden age or at any rate it has certainly experienced better times.

In more recent years consumer habits have certainly changed and if in the past people were very careful to read every single email they received, today this percentage has definitely dropped, especially when it comes to newsletters and promotional messages.

Social media has undoubtedly monopolized the attention of customers, but email marketing still manages to secure a higher conversion rate compared with other types of communication.

DEMs and newsletters are still able to make a difference and build user loyalty through personalization and direct contact with the audience. But how to develop an email marketing campaign that can be winning and compelling? Let's see what are the best practices to follow.

  1. Collect emails legally: In order to send emails to an extended group of people, it is necessary to have a certain amount of addresses, which must be collected in accordance with GDPR, the regulation that protects consumers' privacy and personal data. For the collection it is mandatory to rely on the process opt-in or double opt-in, the procedures by which customers express consent through an enrollment form and verification through a link sent by email;
  2. Segmenting mailing lists: as the mailing list grows in volume, it may become necessary to go and segment the general list into other smaller sub-lists that collect contacts from common traits. Segmentation can be done according to age, geographic origin, new customers, and so on;
  3. Optimizing deliverability: The term deliverability refers to the delivery rate of emails sent to the user. It is an important element for marketers because it is an indication that the messages have reached the destination correctly. To get quality emails it is good to make sure the subject line is spam free, remove outdated addresses and always include an unsubscribe link;
  4. Choose a design in line with the brand: email marketing should take care of not only the content of the emails, but also the graphic aspect, perhaps opting for an attractive design that echoes the brand logo in its colors. A precise and well-defined design will make the message clearer and more pleasant to read;
  5. Personalizing emails: everyone wants to feel special, which is why it is preferable to add a personal touch to emails. Sending personalized messages is a great help in building a solid relationship with customers and leads. This can be done by simply calling the user by name as a sign of affection and confidence.

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